GLRBC Thoughts

It’s been a long weekend and I’m about to enjoy a day of visiting the Chicago Intelligentsia stores, as well as, some coffee explorations at our Fulton St. Roasting Works. But man… has it been a long weekend.

We arrived Friday night, so we missed both of the first competition rounds. However, Saturday was packed with tons to do. I poured my way into the finals of Millrock, as did my coworkers. Then Michael Philips and Jesse Crouse worked their way into the finals of the Great Lakes Regional Barista Competition. Sadly, my friend Talya Strader did not make the finals, however, she represented both herself and her coffee well.

The Great Lakes was a tough competition. I wasn’t counting, but it felt like there were many more blends represented here than single origin. However, it was single origin that took home first place… and I am stoked to be able to call Scott Lucey champion.

Scott’s performance was light hearted and fun. It wasn’t too serious, rather, it was full of knowledgable commentary and wit. It was the kind of perfomance that someone outside of the coffee industry could watch and sort of ‘get it’. His coffee was delicious and I’m very glad it scored well. Kyle, as an emcee, mentioned how American espresso that is balanced really just tends to be kind of muted. Scott’s espresso was balanced, however, it was not that old school American balanced. It was bright and full, floral, and intense. It was an espresso I’ll remember for a good while. Oh, and what impressed me most was that Scott used a Robur. No timer, dosered. He had a small mod on the bottom, and he didn’t level the coffee at all. Cheers to that!

Scott Lucey, GLRBC
Scott Lucey, GLRBC

Jesse Crouse performed very well. Very relaxed. It makes me quite jealous to see someone up there who presents a coffee well, all while looking like they just don’t care. Devin Pedde has the same characteristic and both seem to do well with it. I also tasted the coffee Jesse used and it, too, was delicious. His coffee was El Mirador, a coffee from Santuario in Cauca Colombia. Santuario is a farm that is broken into different plots of land, each containing a seperate varietal of coffee. The Mirador is the typica found on the farm.

Jesse, GLRBC, 2nd Place
Jesse, GLRBC, 2nd Place

I can’t close this without mentioning Mike Philips. Mike certainly had the most innovative performance of the weekend… Possibly of the competition year. Competitors have used multiple grinders for seperate coffees before. They’ve changed their coffee for different beverages before, but Mike took all that further. For his espresso coarse, Mike dosed his coffee about 17 grams. For his cappuccinos he dosed his coffee at 18 grams, and coarsened the grinder. Finally, he pulled the espresso a third way to create his signature beverage. Not only that, but he used different parts of the espresso extraction to make his signature bevergae… Using the first 18 seconds for one component and the remaining for another. Mike also chose not to use his prep table at all. Rather he treaded the judges table like a bar. With two small waters carts, he kept all his serving ware and drink prep hidden from the sensory judges eyes. Well played, Mr. Philips.

Michael Philips, keeping it behind the bar...
Michael Philips, keeping it behind the bar...

A week from today, Devin and I will be leaving for Portland. I have more scores to post… and when I receieve the real list of GLRBC scores, I’ll post the top 20 scores of the 2008-2009 regional season.

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In Chicago.

Lil’ late for posting, but I’m in Chicago for the GLRBC and a little Millrocking. Kyle, Nicely, and I are all in the finals today. We tied. Competely. For 7th place to make the finals. WE scored a 48.6667.

More importantly, today is the final-finals of the 2008-2009 regional competition season. I hope to have the new top 20 posted by tonight… Including, the scores from the SERBC (Mucho sorry Danielle Glasky).

That said, it’s going to be another long day, two crowns going out… One to a regional champ, and one to a guy with a check. Stay tuned coffee world.

8 Regions Down, 2 To Go.

1. Nick Griffith- Intelligentsia, Los Angeles, CA- Western Region- 682.5

2. Devin Pedde- Intelligentsia, Los Angeles, CA- Western Region- 677

3. Ryan Willbur- Intelligentsia, Los Angeles, CA- Western Region- 668.5

4. Robin Seitz- PT’s Coffee, Topeka, KS- Midwest Region- 658

5. Amber Sather- AMS, Brooklyn, NY- Northeastern Region- 650

6. Mike Marquard
- Kaldi’s Coffee- St. Louis, MO- Midwest Region- 641

7. Renee Teichen- Ritual Coffee- San Francisco, CA- Western Region- 638

8. Katy Duris- Murky Coffee- Arlington, VA- Mid-Atlantic Region- 632

9. Allie Turner- Murky Coffee- Arlington, VA- Mid-Atlantic Region- 619

10. Nikolas Krankl- Taste Coffee House- Newtonville, MA- 609

11. Clancy Rose- Cuvee Coffee- Spring, TX- Southcentral Region- 607.5

12. Jared Truby- Verve Coffee- Santa Cruz, CA- Western Region- 605

13. Sara Peterson- The Abbey- Santa Cruz, CA- Western Region- 600.5

14. Christopher
 Weber
- PT’s
 Coffee- Topeka,
KS
- Midwest Region- 596.5

15. Alex Pond- The Fresh Pot- Portland, OR- Northwest Region- 595

16. Jesse Bladyka- Cold Creek Coffee- Laramie, WY- Mountain Region- 595

17. Jeremy Sterner- Peregrine Espresso- Washington DC- MA Region- 594.5

18. Jordan Barber- Abraco Espresso- Brooklyn, NY- NE Region- 591

19. Kristina Marryman- Lava Java- Ridgefield, WA- Northwest Region- 588.5

20. Kevin Fuller- The Albina Press- Portland, OR- Northwest Region- 588

The Aurelia

It was almost a year ago that we, as a coffee community, began to discuss and get antsy for the announcement of who would be the 2009 equipment sponsors for the WBC. We awaited rule changes, details, and debated on what grinders should and should not be allowed.

When the rules and sponsors were announced, many raised questions about the final decisions. I made my statement, and I’ve stuck to it.

Now, with my first competition of the year passed, I think it is important to say a big thank you to the people at Nuovo Simoneli. The Aurelia, as we know it, is an imperfect machine. As is the GB5, FB80, Cyncra, Hydra, and every other espresso machine on the market. However, the people behind the machine is what sets Simoneli apart. “What is the difference?,” you may ask… They listen.

From giclures, to sight glass, and steam boiler level, this is a company listening and ready for feedback. The entire weekend, they were on hand, hanging out with us, listening and asking questions. They tasted our espresso and wanted to know what we thought of it.

I was impressed by Giani and his youthful energy. I think I might owe some competitors an apology, as we really couldn’t get him to stop telling people how much he liked the Finca La Maravilla from Guatemala. Several times, I found myself running away from awkward situations where he would be telling another barista about how great our coffee was. His support, however, was not exclusive to us, as he was there encouraging everyone.

Of course, the important part is how the machines performed over the competition. I competed on two of the three stations and found no inconsistencies in either of the machines. All 3 of my groups had a nice, even flow, and steam pressure was abundant and well balanced. The Aurelia’s being shipped from region to region seem durable and stable… as many people initially told us they would be.

We have a handful of competitions to go before the USBC and with all that ahead of us, it may be too early to make some of the evaluations that I am. However, I think this years USBC will be, from an equipment standpoint, one of the most even playing fields yet, and I look forward to a coffee (non-machine) focused event.

just to reference.

2008 Pre-USBC Top Regional Scores

1. Chris Baca 798
2. Heather Perry 773
3. Kyle Glanville 758
4. Billy Wilson 752
5. Nick Griffith 714.5
6. Drew Cattlin 702.5
7. Lemuel Butler 695.5
8. Ben Helfen 683.5
9. Chris Deferio 671.5
10. Amber Sather 671.5
11. Ryan Willbur 671
12. Pete Licata 670.5
13. Maki Campbell 666.5
14. Robin Seitz 664.5
15. Danielle Glasky 663
16. Katie Duris 656.5
17. Alex McCracken 655
18. Scott Lucey 647
19. Jon Lewis 637.50
20. Kevin Fuller 630

Call it an update.

1. Nick Griffith- Intelligentsia, Los Angeles, CA- Western Region- 682.5

2. Devin Pedde- Intelligentsia, Los Angeles, CA- Western Region- 677

3. Ryan Willbur- Intelligentsia, Los Angeles, CA- Western Region- 668.5

4. Robin Seitz- PT’s Coffee, Topeka, KS- Midwest Region- 658

5. Mike Marquard
- Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Co.- St. Louis, MO- Midwest Region- 641

6. Renee Teichen- Ritual Coffee Roasters- San Francisco, CA- Western Region- 638

7. Clancy Rose- Cuvee Coffee Roasting Co.- Spring, TX-  Southcentral Region- 607.5

8. Jared Truby- Verve Coffee Roasters (Comin’ In Hot)- Santa Cruz, CA- Western Region- 605

9. Sara Peterson- The Abbey Lounge- Santa Cruz, CA- Western Region- 600.5

10. Christopher
 Weber
- PT’s
 Coffee 
Roasting 
Co.- Topeka,
KS
- Midwest Region- 596.5

11. Alex Pond- The Fresh Pot- Portland, OR- Northwest Region- 595

12. Jesse Bladyka- Cold Creek Coffee- Laramie, WY- Mountain Region- 595

13. Kristina Marryman- Lava Java- Ridgefield, WA- Northwest Region- 588.5

14. Kevin Fuller- The Albina Press- Portland, OR- Northwest Region- 588

15. Robbie
 Britt
- Zoka 
Coffee 
Roasters-
 Seattle,
WA- Northwest Region-
 582.5

16. Micah 
Svedja-
 Kaldi’s 
Coffeehouse-
 St.
Louis, 
MO
- Midwest Region-  577.5

Notice, Jesse from the Mountain Region snuck in there with his score from their preliminary round…